July 19, 2024
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2012 honorees announced; event tickets on sale



The Pacific Coast Business Times’ first annual Latino Business Awards special section published June 22, recognizing Latino business leaders across the Tri-Counties.

[Pick up a print copy to read this special section].

An evening awards reception to recognize the honorees will be held Thursday, July 19 at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach. [Click here for tickets]. The Business Times will donate $10 for each ticket sold to Destino Latino to support scholarships in Ventura County.

In addition, in recognition of the educational needs of the region’s Hispanic population, the Business Times has partnered with Venoco to provide $2,500 in support to Santa Barbara’s Scholarship Foundation as part of the company’s sponsorship of Latino Business Awards.

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2012 Latino Business Awards honorees:


[Pick up a copy of the June 22-28 issue of the Business Times for full profiles on the winners]:

• Agribusiness: Bill Camarillo, CEO of Agromin in Oxnard. Camarillo has grown Oxnard-based green waste company Agromin into one of the most successful businesses in the region, employing more than 100 people.

• Banking & Finance: Eloy Ortega, CEO of The Bank of Santa Barbara. A longtime Santa Barbara area banker, Ortega founded Promerica Bank, the first Latino-owned bank in Los Angeles in more than 35 years, before assembling a group of investors to buy The Bank of Santa Barbara and bring it back under local control in 2010.

• Higher Education: Celina Zacarias, CSU Channel Islands. Celina Zacarias helped her mother pick strawberries before she earned a scholarship to UC Santa Barbara. Now the director of community and government relations and CSUCI in Camarillo, she is a strong advocate for higher education.

• Large Business: Angel Martinez, CEO of Goleta-based Deckers Outdoor Corp. Starting from modest roots as a Cuban immigrant growing up in the Bronx, Martinez has had a remarkable career and a major hand in reshaping the footwear industry, a passion that started with a strong work ethic and a love of running.

• Nonprofits: Pedro Chavez, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County. Crediting the positive childhood influences and mentors in his life to his success, Chavez has pursued his passion at Big Brothers Big Sisters, a nonprofit that pairs adult volunteers with children who face advertising in life. Chavez is the director of education and public affairs at the nonprofit’s office in Camarillo and challenges other area leaders to step up to change the life of a child.

• Professional Services: Veronica Quintana, CPA at CBIZ in Oxnard. The daughter of farm workers, Quintana has dedicated herself — both through her profession and her involvement in the community — to helping Latinos striving to get ahead.

• Small Business, Central Coast: Aureliano and Gelacio Lopez, owners of Tacos El Tizon and Taquerio Guerrero. The Lopez brothers came to the U.S. from Mexico seeking opportunity and their own slice of the American dream. Today they own restaurants in Lompoc and Santa Maria, sharing their native cuisine with the region.

• Small Business, Santa Barbara County: Saul Alcaraz, owner of Santa Barbara art glass: From a very rough childhood in Mexico, Alcaraz brought himself to the U.S. and did hard labor before discovering his passion: glass blowing. After crossing numerous hurdles, including learning English and learning his craft, Alcaraz today runs a succesful business in Santa Barbara, doing custom glass work for high-end homes and restaurants.

• Small Business, Ventura County: Sonia Robles, president of Quest Staffing Services. Robles bought out the Oxnard-based staffing services firm in 2007 and has steered it through a tough economy. Her staff is almost entirely bilingual, although she prides herself on having long-term clients from across the community.